Hays have reported that Hong Kong accounting and finance candidates across key areas are in prime position to find a new role in the current market. But even with this potential, employers are looking to candidates to explain their motivations beyond just financial reward.
“It’s a strong job market for accounting and finance candidates across several areas of banking, insurance and the commercial sector, but competition is always strong for the best jobs so candidates shouldn’t take their interview for granted,” advises says Dean Stallard, managing director of Hays in Hong Kong. “We know money is a key driver for many candidates, but they should also think about why the job role appeals to them as well as the company culture offered by the employer they hope to join and this requires solid research and preparation.”
According to Stallard there are candidates who are in super high demand, but employers are still strict on the list of qualifications and attributes they expect a candidate to have before offering them a role. The possession of strong presentation skills is usually on this list.
“Financial planning and analysis (FPA) talent are probably the hottest candidates right now across a range of levels and sectors,” comments Stallard. “Project managers able to drive the roll out of IRFS 9 in banks and insurance companies are also in great demand. However, the pool of talent with the exact mix of skills and experience required remains small in Hong Kong.
“Our advice to candidates is to not overplay your hand even if your skill set is in strong demand,” says Dean.
Other observations offered by Dean about Hong Kong’s accounting and finance market include:
1. Employers are advised not to wait too long when selecting a new recruit as candidates in greatest demand will be fielding other offers.
2. Project managers for IFRS 9 implementation projects must have superior leadership, stakeholder management skills and previous experience rolling out a project from beginning to end. They should also have solid technical skills, user experience testing knowledge and excellent communication skills.
3. Rates are higher for the right project manager candidates and we are seeing overseas candidates, including Hong Kong returnees, applying for IFRS 9 implementation project manager roles.
4. FPAs are in great demand at assistant manager and manager level across retail and FMCG.
5. Insurance companies are also looking for FPAs to fill risk management roles.
6. In asset management, fund accountants all the way up to senior FPA level are in strong demand.
7. Banks are again hiring product control talent after a period of redundancies and outsourcing, but candidates are scare as many left the sector when times were tough.